Friday, February 18, 2011

The 'Sutra' of Entrepreneurship

The sutra of entrepreneurship is great leadership. An entrepreneur has to sail through thick and thin of the unchartered territory. Unless a start-up is steered by great leadership, it is difficult to pull through especially during the rough weather. The downturns can percolate negativity faster than one can realize. Only a positive frame of mind can think innovatively, build an engaging culture, come up with identifying opportunities during the bad times and in turn lead the people. It takes a true entrepreneurship spirit to identify and take up new challenges and turn them into opportunities. Such positive framing can come only if there is passion and meaning attached to the work that you are doing. Whenever there is a meaning attached to whatever you are doing it no more feels like a chore and it automates innovative thinking. My view is, for an entrepreneur, it is the feeling and satisfaction generated in the sub-conscious due to creating and giving, which brings out the meaning to him/her.

Talking specifically about Women Entrepreneurship, the ‘centered leadership’ model developed by McKinsey, highlights ‘meaning’ as one of the important factors which help women into leadership. This model has been developed by putting in research around the specific need of professionally aspiring women and their experiences. To be precise, according to McKinsey’s model, meaning, is finding your strengths and putting them to work in the service of an inspiring purpose. 

My book on WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP, tries to highlight [Prologue] that there are many diverse industries with opportunities. You should know yourself [your strengths and interests or passion which brings about positive energy] and should be able to understand how to identify opportunities. Once your start-up and business model are aligned with your strengths, showing the meaning to you and addressing an industry gap or presenting a better value proposition, then everything will fall on the right track. Buy a copy today and read the interesting businesses that some of the enterprising women are running; what made them choose what they are doing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

SaaS - An Opportunity or A Threat to Indian IT/ITES Industry

The most quickly adopted cloud-computing model is SaaS (Software as a Service) due to the relative ease with which it can be implemented for key yet mundane IT enabled tasks in an organization. This straight away leads to a debate whether SaaS is an opportunity or a threat to the IT/ITES outsourcing industry in India.

To come to a logical conclusion it is important to understand what SaaS is. SaaS, put simply, is software provided as a service over the internet, either on a subscription basis or pay-per-use basis. It certainly is a revolutionary concept as it presents low-cost upfront investments to maintain and upgrade software applications.

For many verticals like Manufacturing, Human Resource Management, Education and Retail it makes strategically viable to move to the SaaS cloud and offload some overheads of IT. SaaS becomes another way of presenting outsourcing method to these verticals. Some of the operations such as payroll management, sales lead generation and sales tracking can follow standardised protocols and hence go the SaaS-way, only this time much cheaper.

Specifically some of the tasks handled by ITES-BPO industry such as data entry, data conversion, accounting, back office operations etc. can well be moved to the cloud of SaaS. With high attrition rate in Indian BPO industry and increasing cost of maintaining employee benefits and employee satisfaction, SaaS model can surely pose a threat to ITES-BPO industry of India. An industry which is works on ever squeezing margins this could be a matter of concern.

On the same lines it may pose a threat to the India IT outsourcing industry to some extent. Whereas this may seem gloomy, but the bright side is that Indian IT/ITES industry has come of age and has a long standing reputation of being the best in terms of outsourcing services provided. With a long track record of about 25 years, our key players of this industry can include SaaS as a model to provide some outsourcing services. Their outsourcing experience should enable them to standardize key elements of processes of such functions which are usually outsourced. They should be able to move up the value chain faster and include SaaS in their service offerings. Moreover, moving to SaaS would help them scale faster and reduce redundancy within their organizations too.

In a nutshell, how I see this is – a threat which is posing a bigger opportunity.